Daily Reflection – 5/26/2023
After Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples and eaten breakfast with them, he said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He then said to Simon Peter a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”( John 21:15-19)
In today’s scripture, we are reminded that Simon Peter has something that we do not have . . . the opportunity to tell God, face to face, how much we love Him.
But is that true?
We may not have the luxury that Simon Peter had but there is another dynamic at work. Sometimes when Jesus is asking if we love Him, we don’t even hear the question. We just assume that Jesus ‘knows that we love him,’ even though we do not often say it out loud. And, in that, we are right; he knows that we love him.
But Jesus asks us more than three times. He asks us throughout our lives. Especially whenever we are on the verge of sinning. When the subtle gnawing of our conscience reminds us that we are on the verge of doing something wrong, perhaps it is the Holy Spirit asking “Do you love Me?”
How hard is it really to love Jesus? He asks of us only two things: to love God, and to love our neighbors. Every sin contradicts one or both of those commandments. Each time an action, a spoken word, or a disrespectful thought, which damages a relationship with another person, it also damages our relationship with the Lord. Each time we judge another, we are contradicting his commandment of love.
Yet, we say we love Him. Then what do we need to do to be able to follow His commands of love? We so do by yielding control of our lives to Him. . . by making the decision to walk with Jesus daily and to trust Him with all our hearts.
Complete surrender to Christ is asked and demanded of each of us, but we fall and linger as Peter and the disciples did. They went back fishing, which shows a falling away from trust and complete confidence. Once more Jesus shows them (half of the 12 apostles) but particularly Peter who He addresses as Simon, his old name before becoming a disciple, how little they can accomplish without Him. All their work, effort, toil, and experience – even as a team – achieves nothing without Christ’s word and instruction.
Jesus sees the potential in all of us too to do great things for Him and out of love for Him in the Church and in the world as His witnesses, but we all have to come to that point where we have to answer the question for ourselves – the leap, as it were, to an adult faith, by answering the question Jesus asks of Peter today and which is extended to all of us – you and me – ‘Do YOU love Me?’
The story makes clear that nothing can be accomplished by our own efforts in the darkness because we toil without Christ. But with Him, attentive to His voice, we can accomplish wonders. Christ is the light. We must cultivate our love for Him in prayer. He gives us a sense of purpose, a sense of meaning and especially CLARITY. But first we must answer the question that Christ puts to each one of us this morning – DO YOU LOVE ME?
Prayer of The Day
Lord thank you for our lives, help us to glorify you through all that we do. Lord, you are our God, and you know what is best for us, help us to never veer from the path of which you have laid down for us. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Like Peter, we cannot follow God unless we realize how much we love Him and how much we are loved. God is calling out to each of us; “do you love me?” Once we say “yes Lord, I love you”, then we are ready to follow Him.